Green Hawker Centres My Foot!

Does anyone else read the Hawker Centre Panel’s “recommendations” as a complete condemnation of the PAP Govt’s approach to hawker centres?

Strip away the fanciful ideas from the social activists and the fluff from the environmentalists and what you have is simple: hawkers should provide cheap food, rents should be kept low so hawkers can provide cheap food, hawker centres should be run by non-profit social enterprises so that food can be cheap, corporates should be disallowed from entering hawker centres because they cause prices to go up, and subletting should be disallowed because it causes profiteering.

In other words, like what I said three months ago, it’s all about what the Govt has failed to do for hawker centres– make hawker food cheap.

Who cares if hawker centres come with “green” features? Who cares if there are “eldercare centres” attached to a hawker centre? Who cares if there are organised tours to bring both locals and tourists to visit our hawker centres? Who cares if there are busking, cooking demonstrations or children’s activities at hawker centres– I’d rather have more seats!

Encourage hawkers to sell more “healthy” food? C’mon– stop telling hawkers what they should or should not do! Hawkers should be free to sell their char kway teow without someone discouraging them. In the same vein, those who want to sell organic food, vegetarian food, macrobiotic food, etc. should also be free to do so. It’s consumers who should decide with their wallets what hawkers should sell. Not the Govt, and certainly not some govt-appointed “panel”.

That’s what you get when you put environmentalists and social activists on a hawker centre “panel”– they all want to get their pet points in the final report.

In my view, the Govt is not stupid, it knows what to do if it really want to reduce the cost of hawker food– stop charging high rentals for hawker stalls, stop tendering out hawker stalls, stop the continual “upgrading” which they recover through higher rentals, stop trying to raise revenues through creative avenues such as “cleanliness grading” inspection fees, etc.

But the Govt can’t admit what it’s done over the last 40 years has been a complete mistake. So they need to find someone external to make “recommendations” which they then graciously “accept”. That’s a far better face-saving method for all concerned.


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Someone who sees beyond PAP and "opposition" in Singapore politics. To understand more please see the Top 10 link below.
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5 Responses to Green Hawker Centres My Foot!

  1. Pingback: Daily SG: 29 Feb 2012 « The Singapore Daily

  2. Elaine says:

    As the appointed agent to disburse our taxpayers’ money wisely, I should certainly hope the govt does implement policies to curb businesses which sell food that makes the consuming population chronically ill, thereby ballooning our healthcare budget. If people are too lazy, ignorant and greedy to avoid gorging in a manner that is detrimental to their well-being, someone has to be the grown-up and regulate the producers of such toxins and death traps. We regulate tobacco and casinos, I’d be delighted if we regulated food producers of all sizes along the chain.

    • Thanks. I disagree. The govt sees hawker centre rentals as merely revenue, that’s why it never bothered to curb the rampant rises in rentals, that’s why it even tendered out hawker stalls to the highest bidder. With that attitude, it is in no position to tell anyone what to sell.

      The idea that the govt should control what you read, see, hear or eat is the most disgusting thing in the world. It is called censorship when it’s applied to the media. It is one of the most hateful things a govt can do, and it reflects a lack of confidence in itself.

  3. Limcy says:

    Ya ya totally agree, a poll from Singapore said it all, they want just good food! Like hdb built and built , outside look very nice inside small n cannot put your furniture worst no coffe shop downstairs.

    Full of shit, why they just listen to the people, neat to slap them n wake up

  4. Pingback: Hawker School– Yet Another Stupid Idea From Vivian B | Political Writings

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